‘Ministers would be wise to tone down the rhetoric of massive cuts. They need to mobilise, energise and reform the public services. Labour made clear in their marathon moan in the Commons yesterday into the early hours of this morning that they are out to talk the economy down, highlight alleged huge cuts in jobs and services and campaign with the Unions against sensible change. The government needs to be smart and careful in its choice of words to bring about the improvements in quality and performance needed.’
Ed Balls had the better of Gove on Newsnight. Politics trumped policy. Gove predicated his answers on the assumption that the pain is necessary because of Brown’s economic mismanagement. That is true but what about turning the state from management to service? Surely the point must be that reforms and cuts do not have to be painful; they could transform the relationship between citizens and their state. Gove’s reforms present a visionary future, his rhetoric must offer more than making the most of a bad situation.